News ID: 173443
Published: 0643 GMT December 08, 2016

Azerbaijan bans journalist from traveling abroad

Azerbaijan bans journalist from traveling abroad

Azerbaijan has upheld a travel ban on a prominent investigative journalist, whose conviction of corruption earlier this year angered rights groups at home and abroad.

On Thurday, Khadija Ismayilova said the Supreme Court had rejected her appeal to overturn the travel ban against her.

“The ban violates my constitutional rights,” said the journalist, adding, “They are trying to prevent me from taking part in international conferences and from telling the truth about the situation in Azerbaijan.”

The 40-year-old award-winning journalist said she would appeal the ruling at the European Court of Human Rights.

Ismayilova was sentenced in September 2015 to seven-and-a-half years in prison for economic crimes.

She has spent more than 17 months in jail since her initial arrest in December 2014.

On May 25, the Supreme Court ruled to release Ismayilova from prison, but banned her from leaving the country.

Ismayilova has been proclaimed a prisoner of conscience by the London-based Amnesty International.

Supporters and rights groups consider her case to be politically motivated.

Ismayilova’s investigative journalism probed around the vast riches allegedly amassed by President Ilham Aliyev and his family.

Rights groups say the government has stepped up pressure on opponents since Aliyev rose to presidency for a third term in 2013.

Aliyev, 54, who has been at the helm since 2003, strongly denies rights abuses in the oil-rich Caspian nation.

Rreports indicate that at least 80 people are in prison in the country for political charges.

Last December, Azerbaijan’s security forces launched a series of deadly raids on religious gatherings, accusing people of involvement in terror activities. Officials confirmed that the raids, which led to multiple arrests, were under the direct supervision of Aliyev.

The Aliyev family has had tight control over Azerbaijan since independence from the Soviet Union in the 90s.

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